What is COOT?

While living the life of the mind, our students enjoy exploring the physical world.

Many play varsity, club, or intramural sports. Plenty take advantage of our location and outdoor programming to sample Maine’s spectacular natural offerings. Every student begins the Colby experience by embarking on an intensive outdoor adventure with a small group of fellow first-years, building friendships and self-confidence before the fall semester even begins. The outdoors is part of the education here. There may be no greater classroom.

Colby Outdoor Orientation Trips

COOT (Colby Outdoor Orientation Trips) is an outdoor-based orientation program required of all first-year Colby students. Trips are designed to be fun and engaging while preparing students for their transition to living and learning on campus.

Keys to COOT

COOT provides students with opportunities to develop meaningful social connections while being challenged at an appropriate level through a wide range of experiences throughout the beautiful state of Maine. COOT leaders provide an ongoing mentoring presence on campus throughout the academic year. The COOT program, which takes place Sept 3-Sept 5th, 2021, offers students classic outdoor experiences such as rock climbing, backpacking, canoeing, civic engagement, local exploration, and whitewater rafting. Trips range from mild to strenuous in exertion level and provide students with an exciting array of activities from which to choose. It is our goal to provide everyone—from beginners to those experienced in the outdoors—with a trip well-suited to their interests and ability level. Since 1977 the COOT program has helped more than 12,000 first-year students navigate the woods and waters of Maine and the corridors and classrooms of Colby College. The program is managed by administrative staff with significant collaboration and assistance from student leaders. Our leaders undergo a competitive selection process and must successfully complete all training requirements to be considered a COOT leader.

Backpacking

These trips are well suited to students that are comfortable in the outdoors and those who would like a challenge. Beginners as well as those with hiking or backpacking experience are welcome. Located on various sections of the famous Appalachian Trail, as well as the western portion of the newly designed Grafton Loop Trail, participants will enjoy leaving the car behind as they backpack from campsite to campsite each night through the mountains. These trips enjoy a time-honored “cross-COOT” experience–meeting up with another COOT group hiking in the opposite direction on the trail. All of these trips involve rustic, backcountry camping and are strenuous. Students will carry over 50lbs on their backs over steep and rough terrain. An internal frame backpack (4500+ cubic inches), broken-in hiking boots, a sleeping bag (rated to 30 degrees) and sleeping pad are required for backpacking trips and are available to borrow for the trip.

Exertion Level: Strenuous
Amenity Level: Backcountry Camping in Tents

Basecamp

Mount Katahdin, Acadia National Park, Saddleback Mountain — explore some of Maine’s true treasures. Also discover some of its best kept secrets such as the Cutler Bold Coast, Gulf Hagas, and more. These trips are a wonderful introduction to the outdoors in Maine. Basecamp trips “make a home” at one site and explore the area by hiking, sightseeing, or beach hopping. These trips generally enjoy frontcountry camping with access to modern amenities, with a few exceptions such as Gulf Hagas. They range from mild to moderate to strenuous in exertion level. A sleeping bag and a sleeping pad are required for these trips.

Exertion Level: Moderate
Amenity Level: Frontcountry Camping in Tents

Canoeing

A classic Maine experience! Enjoy paddling the St. Croix river with it’s many approachable rips and rapids. This backcountry trip paddles from campsite to campsite each night taking in the scenic beauty of northern Maine. This trip involves rustic, backcountry camping and range from moderate to strenuous in exertion level. Participants should be comfortable with water-based activities and have established swimming skills. A sleeping bag and a sleeping pad are required for these trips.

Exertion Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Amenity Level: Backcountry Camping in Tents

Challenge Course

Laughter is a wonderful way to bring people together! Fun, excitement, and challenge characterize this experience that allows participants to interact through games, initiatives, and low- and high-challenge course elements. Following the challenge-by-choice model, participants will be encouraged to step outside of their comfort zones and try new activities in a highly supportive environment.

Exertion Level: Mild-Moderate
Amenity Level: Cabin

Civic Engagement

In partnership with the Colby’s Office of Civic Engagement students will spend the day collaborating with our community partners in the greater Waterville area. Students will also spend time to explore the area’s attractions and visit some of the great local eateries.

Fishing

Fishing is a classic Maine activity. Participants will enjoy formal fishing instruction from some of the best local guides. Experienced anglers and beginners are both welcome. More detailed information regarding specific species and regulations will be issued upon registration for this trip. Participants will be provided gear. The State of Maine requires a fishing license for each individual, which must be purchased by participants in advance through the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Exertion Level: Mild-Moderate
Amenity Level: Cabin

Local Exploration

Get oriented in your new backyard! Local exploration trips explore the Waterville area and neighboring communities to give participants a diverse introduction to the many resources and activities available as they make their new home at Colby. Activities include, but are not limited to, a tour of Waterville Main Street, a yoga class, and an introduction to the Colby Hume Center.

Exertion Level: Mild
Amenity Level: Cabin

Rock Climbing

Visit Acadia National Park and experience rock climbing along Maine’s legendary rocky coast. We will partner with Acadia Mountain Guides to offer this spectacular experience. Beginners are welcome. Participants should be comfortable with heights. Personal climbing shoes are not required but you are invited to bring your own pair if you have them. All other climbing gear will be provided.

Exertion Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Amenity Level: Frontcountry Camping in Tents

Surfing/SUP

Surfing in Maine? Absolutely! Catch some of the best waves in the state along the shores of Popham Beach. Participants will be introduced to surfing or stand-up paddle boarding. Beginners and experienced surfers are both welcome. All gear is provided. Strong swimming ability is a requirement for participation in this trip.

Exertion Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Amenity Level: Frontcountry Camping in Tents

Whitewater Rafting

Calling all adventurers! Located in The Forks—where the Kennebec and Dead rivers meet—this whitewater rafting and falls exploration trip is sure to thrill. Crab Apple Whitewater will serve as our guide for the rafting portion of the trip leading us down class III and IV rapids and providing a delicious cookout for lunch. The rest of the trip will be comprised of light hiking and excursions, including a visit to a special point of interest, Moxie Falls. Participants should be comfortable with water-based activities and have established swimming skills.

Exertion Level: Moderate
Amenity Level: Backcountry/Frontcountry Camping in Tents

Yoga

Art, science, philosophy, a path to self-discovery—yoga has been described as all of these. The scenic Camden Hills region will serve as home for this trip, which includes guided yoga sessions each morning, light day hikes in the peaceful Tanglewood Forest and Fernald’s Neck Preserve, and ample time for reflection and/or journaling at the end of each day. Additional opportunities include a sunset dinner atop Bald Rock Mountain and a chance to dip your toes in the waters of Penobscot Bay.

Exertion Level: Mild
Amenity Level: Cabin

Outdoor Opportunities at Colby

Contact Campus Life &
Outdoor Education

SJ Tinker
Interim Director of Outdoor Education & Leadership
Office: Cotter Union, Box 4284

Phone: 207-859-4284
Fax: 207-859-4285
E-mail: [email protected]